A new survey from the ANA looking at how marketers are conducting their programmatic media buying, revealed that 85% of marketers are currently conducting programmatic initiatives, either in-house or with an agency. However, more than a third of respondents (35%) have reduced the role of their external agencies over the past year as a result of the expansion of their in-house programmatic media buying capabilities. This is a notable increase from a 2016 study that found only 14% of marketers in-housing programmatic.
Other key findings to emerge from the study included:
- 78% of marketers are “concerned, or very concerned about brand safety and programmatic.”
- Only 40% of marketers are comfortable with “the level of transparency about their programmatic media investments” with “hidden costs” a particular concern.
- “Better audience targeting”, “building audience reach”, and “real-time optimization” were the top three cited benefits among marketers that opted to in-house.
It seems overall, transparency in programmatic is on the rise and non-disclosed models are in decline. But what is true transparency in programmatic?
The Programmatic Onion – Layers of Programmatic Transparency
Previously in programmatic, all the above layers of cost would be bundled into a CPM, CPA or CPC – for example, an advertiser would book a campaign with an agency or trading desk at $4 CPM with a minimum spend of $50k per month and all of the operating costs are covered.
Now, slowly, the costs are being unbundled from top to bottom of the programmatic supply chain as we peel back the layers of the programmatic onion. During this unbundling process, some of the people, contracts and relationships are shifting from 3rd parties and into advertisers themselves.
Not every marketer needs or wants to peel the onion. Outcomes based marketing is well suited to many, and certainly simplifies a complex ecosystem. But for many marketers, it seems there is an emerging need for transparency at every step of the supply chain, and a perception that this transparency can be better facilitated through direct relationships with publishers and tech.
Peeling the programmatic onion is a crucial exercise in transparency for our industry, an opportunity for agencies, tech vendors and publishers to build trust, and a key part of building spend in digital channels outside the Duopoly.